Last week, did you notice Thanksgiving is dying?
And did you notice what a hoopla President Trump made when he declared “Merry Christmas” from the White House, instead of the impotent, politically-correct “Happy Holidays” of his predecessors?
Thanksgiving, it turns out, gets less attention each year. It is being shouldered aside. The Pilgrims in their brass-buckle hats and broadcloth coats, womenfolk in bonnets, and friendly Indians appear in fewer places each year, and pumpkin pies grow smaller.
There are several causes for this: economic, demographic, political, philosophical, and spiritual.
The economic cause is the most obvious: the day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day on the calendar. For many a store, the Christmas shopping feeding frenzy is their sole hope of turning a yearly profit, and so it behooves them to start the Happy Holiday hoopla earlier each year. Thanksgiving is simply in the way.
The demographic reason is related.
Not many people spend big bucks on turkeys and festive preparations for large family feasts during Thanksgiving and Christmas as they did in the days of Norman Rockwell paintings, simply because not many people have large families.
Since the time of the sexual revolution, few women show enthusiasm for mothering a large family. No one is going to make a big deal about a holiday celebrated by one lonely middle-aged divorcee with no children eating a can of cold turkey-meat chili above the sink in the kitchenette of her silent, dark apartment.
Thanksgiving and Christmas, to her, are simply sad.
The political reason is related to the demographic.
Family life is the basic core of human existence. It shapes our psychology and personality, gives zest to life, goals to work, rewards unselfishness, and reproduces the species. It is the foundation stone of civilization.
But the political revolution that arose arm in arm with the sexual revolution sought to undermine all this, under the rubric that family life was a trap and a straitjacket, whereas abortion, polygamy, sodomy, and fornication were the harbingers of a liberal, libertine, and libertarian utopia.
All that need be done, or so we were told repeatedly, was to normalize all untoward and unnatural sexual acts in the name of liberty; to make women artificially and temporarily sterile with behavior-altering pharmaceuticals with unknown side-effects in the name of fraternity; to persuade mothers to murder their own unborn babies in the name of equality; and replace limited government by the people with a totalitarian welfare state managed by elite experts in the name of the revolution.
Since all such sick utopian schemes have been tried and failed before, many times, during the period of the Romantics, or after the Civil War, or in ancient Sparta, the political rhetoric of the Flower Power generation had to scoff and slander and denigrate anything said by the wisdom of hard-won experience. Anyone looking at the past would see its clear lessons, and so the past had to be stuffed down an Orwellian memory hole.
Whatever was a good, solid, sound and working social institution could be roundly condemned, not for being unsound, but merely for being old.
Note that any social institution, such as monogamy, which had proven itself hale and wholesome over millennia was the prime target to be reformed out of existence.
The backward logic of the revolutionaries held that if an institution had worked so successfully over an eon that no one currently suffered whatever wild danger the institution successfully fenced out, therefore the fence was no longer needed.
The danger beyond the fence was merely pretended not to exist; those who feared it were called cowardly; and the fence was said to be not a fortress wall but a prison wall, every safety belt a shackle, meant maliciously by crones to oppress the young.
The sad thing about such backward logic is that these are not really political questions. They are anti-political.
The sexual revolution, if carried to its inevitable end, abolishes the family, makes every youth a bastard, makes every romance end in break-up, and teaches a whole generation never to trust each other, only to exploit each weaknesses in one who loves and trusts you, betraying her for temporary sexual pleasure. It replaces Normal Rockwell’s picture of family with Harvey Weinstein in his bathrobe.
In other words, the sexual revolution robs sex of all joy. Look at the odd statistics of how many modern youths approve of any sexual deviation, but even their kinks cannot get them turned on. They would rather lurk in a basement with anime porn.
Men raised without fathers learn from childhood on to look out only for themselves, since no one else will, and to trust only the government, whose welfare checks sustain him. They rarely form stable families themselves. Men without families do not work very hard, and do not see much point in going to war.
So with all the so-called political programs of the elite. Their elite logic is backward. When you carry out socialism, you do not get an efficient, state-controlled economy, you get economic chaos, endless power struggles, gulags, mass killings, and the breakdown of society.
The sadder thing about such backward logic is not that it worked, but that it met no resistance worth note. It was not an argument, not a political program meant to accomplish a goal. It was merely the dark side of man’s nature preying on the weak-minded. The elites who preached this garbage were wafted into power, practically unopposed.
Yes, unopposed. When is the last time any of us heard a fiery political speaker vowing to high heaven to put an end to no-fault divorce? Has the topic ever even been discussed in your hearing? We do not even bother discussing the morality and prudence of contracepting an entire generation any more. The only thing we seem to be able to debate is whether the Little Sister of the Poor should pay for the harlot’s free contraceptives or if the taxpayer should.
So, politically, the large family is demeaned and diminished by the elites. An entire overpopulation fraud was concocted merely in order to give some flimsy reason to oppose the natural commandment to be fruitful and multiply.
Thanksgiving feasts are politically incorrect. The elites would gnash their teeth and wail, unless the turkey were vegetarian, and being carved by a bisexual, biracial couple, with all nonlesbians working busily in the workforce, childless.
The philosophical reasons are related.
Philosophy teaches that the sole thing that makes life not just tolerable, but fun, is a little thing called gratitude.
Yes, you heard me. Gratitude. Being thankful. Thanksgiving.
It is the secret of life. It is the secret of happiness.
But modern philosophy follows modern politics. In the same way their anti-politic policies destroys all they touch, their modern philosophy is anti-philosophy, ending thought and civilized debate.
It entails the end of gratitude, the end of happiness as a goal in life, and it leads eventually to the abolition of man.
A natural man, a normal man, encounters a feeling of gratitude whenever he receives a grace, a gift, any source of pleasure. You breathe a whisper of thanks beholding a majestic oak’s mighty limbs or a sweet young woman’s smile, hearing a stirring song or a child’s laugher, or seeing the first star rising, mystical and distant, above a snow-peaked mountain made purple with gathering twilight.
All these things are wonders. They are miracles. They are sublime.
Pride hinders gratitude. If you are a big man with a big ego, you look down your nose at all these things. The oak is merely lumber. The smile is merely sex appeal, some a biological reflex, or a reaction of brain chemicals. Songs are noise. Children are snotty, and sickly and saccharine. Mountains are rocks and stars are balls of flaming gas. To the proud man, none of them is a big deal.
The problem with the big man is that his soul is small.
Small, too, is his pleasure in life.
The ungrateful man is like a man whose body has been turned inside out. His eyes are focused on his own brain. Facts do not bother him, only his own feelings. His mouth is turned inward, for he talks of nothing but himself, and what is due him. His anus is turned inward. His is full of filth, and the more he tries to expel, the thicker it fills him up.
And we on the outside can see all the freaking and dripping backward organs of a man who lives with everything turned inside out and backward. We know, because it is plain to see, what the things are inside him which make him speak as he does and see only what he likes.
His elite philosophy says that there is an invisible and undefeatable conspiracy of someone responsible for all his unhappiness in life, for everything wrong with everything.
Someone else. Someone hateful. Never himself.
Suppose not all men are equally skilled or interested in all fields. A statistical disparity between the races arises. The elite philosophy says this is not due to anything natural or inevitable, but due to race hatred so ingrained that even the racists are not aware of their racism.
Suppose some men follow the “Pence Rule” of never being alone with any woman not his wife. The elite philosophy says this is not due to prudence toward natural temptations (or wariness toward false accusation), but misogyny so ingrained that even the misogynist is unaware of it.
Suppose there is a mass shooting halted by an NRA instructor, who, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, had the skill and presence of mind to shoot the shooter. The elitist will howl that the NRA is to blame, that thought and prayers for the victims and survivors are futile and bring no comfort. He screams that the solution to man’s weakness and cruelty is to give men totalitarian, unchecked coercive power over us.
The solution is Caesar.
The Second Amendment is not a fence keeping potential Caesars away, but a prison erected because NRA members want to murder us all, but are (yet again) unaware.
In his philosophy, man is not a rational animal, but irrational. No final answers are possible. Any attempt at a rational, working model is a “narrative” — that is, a disguised trap meant solely to maintain the oppressors’ power. Man is forever a victim. Man is racist, misogynist, murderously evil, but never is aware of it.
God is dead. There is no hope from heaven.
God is dead. Nothing outranks human law, human willpower.
God is dead. Caesar is god.
To cure all evils, Caesar must enjoy untrammeled power to redistribute all life’s goods. Not just gold, but imponderable also, such as status, praise, and power.
Each man is owed this. Because it is his by right, when he receives it, no man is burdened with gratitude.
Love in not possible in this ungrateful world. Every one is exploiter and foe to every one. Blacks must hate whites, women hate men, deviants hate straights, all hate all. There is nothing but the fight. There is nothing but hate.
Philosophy is abolished. Reason is abolished. All moral codes are gone. There is nothing but power–raw, pure power.
In such a world, the only question left is who shall be the alpha beast with the whip, and who the quailing and craven livestock.
Man, as such, is abolished.
Finally, the philosophical problem is related to the spiritual problem.
The workings of an inside-out mind are easy to see from the outside. The ungrateful soul cannot turn his eyes outward, lest he see anything larger than himself, finer, fairer, or worth fighting for. He dare not look. He cannot even imagine being chaste, or honest, or courageous, and assumes all men are like himself. Any other assumption would shrivel his self esteem like a raisin.
The thing he calls self-esteem is not real. It is vainglory. He kneels to no power but himself. Heaven, for him, is empty space.
He cannot be forgiven for sins he won’t confess. No forgiveness means no gratitude.
What can save so sick a soul?
John C. Wright is a retired attorney, newspaperman and editor, who was only once on the lam and forced to hide from the police. He is an acclaimed science fiction novelist, winner of the prestigious Dragon Award for Best Novel, and holds the record for the most Hugo Award nominations for a single year. He presently works as a writer in Virginia, where he lives in fairytale-like happiness with his wife, the authoress L. Jagi Lamplighter, and their four children: Pingping, Orville, Wilbur, and Just Wright.